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2011 Toyota Highlander - Oil Change Interval

Owner’s manual calls for oil change every 10,000 miles.
Seniors like my wife and I often don’t make that many miles in 4 years. How often should we be changing oil. And what about other maintenance issues that are based on miles traveled. Ron

The owners manual should have different schedules for various type of driving habits. It should also state a time limit between changes. Time breaks down oil. It is usually recommended to change oil every 12 months if the mileage limit hasn’t yet been reached. In your situation I would recommend changing once a year UNLESS you often make short drives, which is hard on oil. in that case I would recommend every 6 months.


Most of the other maintenance items that you asked about have a time vs mileage limit also, if the maintenance entails changing fluids (engine coolant for example). We own a 2013 Highlander. Toyota doesn’t recommend changing transmission fluid ever (I believe the 2011 is the same, but I’m not certain). I changed it the first time at 100k miles anyway. If I had it to do over, I think I’d do a 50k mile interval. I believe the coolant is 5 years or 100k miles, but the owner’s manual should say.

The other maintenance items that do not involve fluids (air filter for example), just change at the mileage indicated. Time isn’t a factor.

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Time is not a factor for air filters but dirt roads or even dirty roads are as well as sand.

Since I retired we only drive our Camry 5000 to 7000 mikes a tear, but I don’t let it go i day past a year.

Is the car kept in a garage? I drive low miles and do spring and fall, better too often than not often enough, with a reputable shop of course. The other concern might be a timing belt if you have one, the usual is miles or years.

Yes, but it also specifies oil changes based on elapsed time, with a proviso of “whichever comes first”.
I don’t have your manual in front of me, so I don’t know if it specifies… let’s say… six months… or 12 months, but if you accumulate odometer miles slowly, you would be VERY foolish if you exceeded the elapsed time specified in the manufacturer’s maintenance schedule.

We get this type of question fairly often, and I still can’t figure out why people focus solely on the odometer mileage factor, while ignoring the very important elapsed time factor–which is usually stated in the same sentence in the manual.

I just looked at your owner’s manual. It says “10,000 miles or 12 months”, “20,000 miles or 24 months”, and so on. This seems pretty clear to me, to be honest.

Yes, it does seem quite clear, so I will ask again…
Why do people focus solely on the odometer mileage factor, while ignoring the very important elapsed time factor–which is stated in the same sentence?

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